Having cash on hand in the current economy can be tough, especially if you’ve never really tried your hand at saving for the long-term
The recent revelation that 61% of Americans have less than $1,000 in their savings accounts (and 20% don’t have a savings account period), may come as a shock to some. However, this trend is telling of the current state of savings, as citizens are less likely to save due to factors such as mounting debt or underemployment.
These statistics are especially worrying for millennials and financial newbies who perhaps haven’t wrapped their heads around the concepts of saving or investing their money. If you’ve got money on hand but aren’t exactly sure what to do with it, consider the following options as a means of making the most of your financial future.
High Yield Savings Accounts
Many people squander their savings because they don’t have a proper account with a competitive interest rate. Instead of earning mere pennies, consider how you could turn your money in the bank into significant returns over time.
Establishing a savings account is perhaps the first and most important step to long-term saving. Likewise, high yield savings accounts allow you to make the most of your bank account. Most high yield accounts offer interest rates close to 1% annually, and may have specific requirements including:
- A minimum deposit for establishing the account
- A minimum balance that must be maintained for the account to stay active ($10,000, for example)
- A limited number of withdrawals or transactions associated with that account for a specified time period
Although not all high yield accounts are created equal, chances are you can qualify for something to help build interest over time versus a checking account that offers you a pittance.
The old adage “you’ve got to spend money to make money” holds true when it comes to finding worthwhile investments. Whether it be looking to get into a Biotech ETF or going for more traditional routes, this is important to keep in mind going forward.
However, isn’t the idea of investing backwards if you’re looking to save money? Although you ideally shouldn’t consider investing until you’ve saved up a nest egg, everyone has to start somewhere when it comes to investing their money beyond their bank accounts.
If you’re looking to invest without breaking the bank, consider options such as penny stocks as a means of testing the waters of the investment market. While penny stocks can be unpredictable, they offer a high potential for reward at a relatively low cost and can easily be traded online.
By understanding how to buy penny stocks, you can familiarize yourself with the investment world and prepare yourself for future trading once you’ve saved a significant amount of cash.
Saving With Apps
Thankfully, modern technology makes it easier than ever to save.
Apps such as Acorns apply a sort of “keep the change” principle to your finances by taking the spare change from your purchases and investing them into exchange-traded funds. This introduction to micro-investing can essentially take negligible amounts of money (think: the 18 cents you got back at Starbucks) and turn it into to something big over the course of the year.
Although you could do such investing on your own, why not let the app do all the legwork for you? The emergence of financial apps is making it easier than ever to save in an era where so much of the public is struggling to hold onto cash.
Whether you’re looking to save more or simply have options when it comes to your cash there is no one-size-fits-all approach to saving money. Regardless, smart investments and strong savings accounts are the cornerstone of building up your financial future.